A good week for the baseball

There’s been a lot of ball(hawk)-related action in the news this past week. Just thought I’d share a list of some of the newsworthy stories as well as a few other things you might not be aware of…


1) The Jayson Werth Incident. It happened on July 8th in Philly. Drew Stubbs hit a foul ball down the right field line. A fan in the front row caught it bare-handed. Although the fan didn’t actually reach out of the stands, Werth felt he would’ve been able to catch it and screamed at the guy. Shades of Bartman. Here’s the story on ESPN.com.
2) Mike Stanton’s well-placed homer. It happened on July 7th at Dodger Stadium. Stanton homered into the left field bullpen, and the ball landed in a catcher’s mitt that was sitting on top of an equipment bag. Here’s the story on a Yahoo Sports blog.
3) Fan’s web gem. It happened last night in Washington, D.C. The fan who caught Buster Posey’s homer was featured in the “web gems” segment on ESPN’s “Baseball Tonight.” The guy made a bare-handed catch while leaning over the railing. The umps reviewed the play for potential fan interference, but because the railing is set back from the wall, the home run stood.


4) Ryan Franklin’s accusation. According to a friend of mine, it happened after the Rockies scored nine runs in the bottom of the 9th inning to beat the Cardinals on July 6th. Franklin claimed that the baseballs felt slick, suggesting that the Rockies were suppling him with non-humidor balls. (I’m looking for more info about this, possibly for my book, so if you can find anything about this, please leave a comment or email me.)
5) Home run ball exchanges. When Mat Latos hit his first career home run on July 8th, TV camera captured members of the Padres’ bullpen tossing four balls to the fan who caught it. Two days earlier, in an exchange that almost no one knows about, A-Rod gave a jersey to the fan who snagged/returned his 597th career homer. The ball landed in the gap behind the center field wall. A security guard retrieved it and tossed it up into the crowd. As it turned out, A-Rod wanted it for himself. And by the way, Andruw Jones hit his 400th career home run this afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field. The ball landed in the left field bullpen and was retrieved by one of his teammates.

6) The fan who fell. It happened on July 6th at Rangers Ballpark. A fan in the front row of the second deck turned around to watch a foul ball that sailed over his head. When it ricocheted back in his direction, he leaned back too far for it and plunged 30 feet over the railing. He suffered a fractured skull, but thankfully/incredibly, he seems to be okay and was just released from the hospital. Here’s the story on MLB.com.


7) Speaking of Rangers Ballpark, two prominent ballhawks snagged game home runs there this week. On July 6th, Nick Yohanek (aka “The Happy Youngster“) grabbed one off the berm in center field. Three days later, Greg Barash (aka “Greg Barasch“) used his cup trick to reel one out of the gap behind the left field ball.
8) Speaking of prominent ballhawks, Shawn Bosman snagged TWO home run balls during yesterday’s game in Milwaukee. Here’s his blog entry about it. Robert Harmon (remember him from my article about Barry Bonds final home run?) also caught a home run this week — a Felipe Lopez blast on July 6th at Coors Field. (Speaking of prominent ballhawks and Bonds’ final home run, has anyone spotted Jake Frazier this week at Citi Field? Jake hardly ever leaves the Bay Area, but last night I heard that he’s in New York.)
One last thing…
Earlier this afternoon, the Mets announcers mentioned me on TV. The cameras happened to show some little kids with gloves, one of whom looked upset, so Gary Cohen said, “Never promise your son a ball unless you’re with, uhh, what’s his name? Zack. Yeah, Zack the ball catcher.” A couple minutes later, Cohen said, “By the way, it’s Zack Hample…I just Googled ‘zack foul balls’ and it came up.”


  1. joshscards

    yeah i saw the one nick grabbed off the berm….sportscenter made him look bad on it and actually said “way to get in front of a little kid on it”….and then they showed him giving *a* ball to the kid…not sure (probably wasnt) the homerun ball

  2. zackhample

    I talked to Nick about it today. He said the kid’s father told him not to worry about it — that his son “knew what he was getting into” when he ran out onto the berm. Nick also said (and I could kinda see for myself in the footage) that the kid basically ran right in front of him and dove in front of his legs, so even though it looked bad on TV, it really wasn’t Nick’s fault.

  3. bloggingboutbaseball

    Thanks for the week in review, Zack. I hadn’t heard about a few of those.
    Also, All-Star stuff is going on all this weekend–and I ended up snagging three commemorative balls at the Futures game today. :-)
    I hope the writing is going well–your new book is sure to be great!

  4. Ballhawk Shawn

    Z, thanks for throwing me in there. I’m already noticing the “Hample Bump”, (a knock-off of the “Colbert Bump”). I managed to grab another gamer on Sunday afternoon, further proving that this week is “The Week of the Ballhawk.” Ryan Franklin and I are rather close, I’ll have to talk with him and see what info I can get out of him in regards to the Coors Incident. Its about time YOU get back in the action, my man!


  5. rocktober_93


    Franklin is the second person in a week to complain about the balls used at Coors Field and accusing the Rockies of messing with balls being provided to the visiting Team. The other person was Giants announcer John Miller.


    Everyone must think that everytime the Rockies start hitting they are messing with the balls stored in the humidor. As you probably already know by your tour of Coors Field, that game balls are given to the umpire crew prior to a game start. MLB is fine with this process and it doesn’t matter what other teams are saying as long as MLB thinks the process is fine.

  6. bigappleblogger

    1. A mets fan leaped up and caught a foul ball with his HAT during a cincinatti reds vs mets game.
    2. Ichiro was running for a foul ball and stuck his glove into the seats behind the right field foul line, but he accidentally brushed a teenage girl’s body with his mitt. She was so ecstatic, it was hilarious. She was seriously near tears.

  7. cookandsonbats

    I guess it was the heat of battle and all, but that didn’t seem very good that Werth yelled at that guy. The ball was clearly in the stands and the guy did nothing wrong. Yelling at him probably just made the dad feel really bad and the kid (who looked stunned) less of a Jayson Werth fan. On another note, the Ryan Franklin thing is pretty silly too. The umpires, not the Rockies, supply the pitchers with the baseballs. Is he suggesting that the umpires are in on it?

  8. kingdomeee

    A fan also snatched up a ball at Safeco while Ichiro was rounding third for the run that would’ve tied it up. Mariners ended up losing by one run… It’s not all bad in Seattle this time of the year…

  9. zackhample

    Nice job at the Futures Game. How did the rest of the All-Star festivities go for you?

    Another game home run for you?! Damn, Son. That’s funny about the bump. Glad to hear it.

    Wow, I have no idea.

    Thanks for the info about Jon Miller. I wasn’t aware that he had gotten involved. Can you find anything about Franklin? I’d love to get a quote from him about it.

    Good call. Those were two other significant ball-related events. I wish I’d thought of them sooner.

    Where do you think the umps get the balls? The balls are provided to them from — DRUM ROLL!! — the Rockies’ dugout.

    Oh yeah, I remember seeing something about that. This week of ball-related stuff keeps getting crazier the more I think about it.

  10. cookandsonbats

    Yep, but each one is either thrown to the pitcher or handed to the catcher by an umpire who would have the chance to notice if it feels different than the rest.

  11. zackhample

    True, but the difference is often negligible to the human touch — at least to humans who don’t make their living by throwing baseballs. Forget the slickness for a moment; if the ball is just a little bit harder and lighter, it will travel a looooooong way when it’s hit.

  12. g1zm0pwns@aol.com

    “Never promise your son a ball unless you’re with, uhh, what’s his name? Zack. Yeah, Zack the ball catcher.” A couple minutes later, Cohen said, “By the way, it’s Zack Hample…I just Googled ‘zack foul balls’ and it came up.”


    lmao. Better than how he referred to me last year. Gary Cohen is iconic though. He’s like a walking encyclopedia if you ask me. That’s actually how i got mentioned; a friend and i were arguing over some Mets stats last year on comebacks or something so we’re like, you know what, let’s just just ask Gary when he comes in – he should know. He answered our question alright, then busted me in a nearby section later that night. How goes the collection and life btw? Long time no see. Keep in touch.

    —Stef (from Shea//Citi)

  13. zackhample

    Wow, hey, it’s great to hear from you. Cohen is the best. Very funny about the comeback stats. My collection has been suffering, and I don’t have much of a life right now because I’m so busy with my book and other stuff. But…things will probably get a lot simpler as this season comes to a close. I’m hoping to attend a *ton* of games next year, so hopefully I’ll be seeing you a lot more.

  14. hooksfan

    Zack, thanks for the update on the Happy Youngster. It’s been awhile since I have heard something about him. Having a little one can change your priorities. Why should we read the news when we have the Hample short stories. Makes it much more interesting. Last Sunday I finally had my first two homer game. The total for that game was two home runs and one foul ball. For the seven home stand I got twelve balls (five of them game balls). Next Saturday will be attending my first Major League game in over 30 years. We will be see the Houston Astros play the Cincinnati Reds. The last time I saw a Major League game was when the Minnesota Twins played in the Metropolitan Stadium.


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